In its second year at WBC, Star Wars Outer Rim attracted a whopping 32 competitors, nearly doubling last year’s attendance! Sometimes it takes a few years for folks to embrace a new game, and sometimes it takes a little external modification. Case in point, last year Fantasy Flight released the Unfinished Business expansion for Outer Rim just a couple months before WBC 2022. Last year, many tables opted to use the expansion (including the Semifinal and Final), and all competitors agreed that they made the game better. This year, every tournament game used the expansion.
This year Outer Rim attracted a slew of familiar faces (all of last year’s Semifinalists played and advanced to the Semifinal once again) and brought in many new ones. The demo was well-attended, and many chose to compete in at least one heat afterwards. A special shout-out to Ryan and Kathryn Stanton who attended the demo and then played in all three heats!
Most people played at 4-person tables, with a few 3-person tables scattered about to accommodate numbers. Heat 1 saw six tables, three with 4 and three with 3. Heat 2 had five 4-person tables. And Heat 3 had three with 4 and one with 3. That gave us 12 unique winners, three of whom had two wins. With 32 competitors, 16 advanced to the semifinals, which means four 2nd place finishers could also advance. Bruce Monnin, Chuck Krueger, and Molly Cinderella each had 2 second place finishes to make the cut, and the last spot went to the player with the closest 2nd place finish: Tina Del Carpio.
To my astonishment, every single Semifinalist showed up to the Semifinal! I have NEVER seen a non-continuous game where all of the Semifinalists participate. There’s always someone with a prior commitment, but this time everyone was there and ready to compete.
Seating for the Semifinal were mostly random, aside from the four players who brought copies of the game who would sit at separate tables. At table 1, Bruce Monnin won the die roll and selected Lando Calrissian. Tina Del Carpio was second with Dr. Aphra. Chuck Krueger was third and picked Han Solo. That left Billy Fellin to pick IG-88. It was a tough game for the bounty hunting droid as Lando purchased the Aggressor-Class Assault Fighter and proceeded to run around blowing up patrols and completing the IG-2000’s ship goal, leaving IG-88 searching fruitlessly for bounties. Lando was eventually just one turn away from delivering his last cargo and securing the win, but he was blocked by poorly situated level 4 patrol. As he waited for the patrol to move, Dr. Aphra crossed the galaxy’s core and completed a final job to secure the win. After barely qualifying for the Semifinal by the fifth tiebreaker, Tina advanced to the Final.
Table 2 was a beast of a table with three former laurelists duking it out. Sean McCulloch won the die roll and picked Lando Calrissian. Newcomer Molly Cinderella picked Jyn Erso. Jacob Hebner took Dr. Aphra, and defending champion Lisa Gutermuth took Boba Fett. Lando got unlucky and was defeated twice while failing jobs. Jyn Erso used a secret to steal a fame from Boba Fett. But the Boba Fett turned around and stole a fame from Dr. Aphra. The game was extremely close, but on the last turn Lando blew up a patrol with the Millennium Falcon to secure his 10th fame. If the other players had one more turn, Molly would have been able to complete a job for 9 fame, Jacob could have completed a job to hit 10, and Lisa could have delivered a bounty to hit 10. It’s hardly a surprise that this table was such a tight battle!
Table 3 featured two more former laurelists jockeying for position. Dave Long, last year’s GM, won the die roll and picked Dr. Aphra. I was next and picked up Lando Calrissian. Michael See, a regular competitor in the Star Wars Rebellion tournament, selected Jyn Erso third, and WBC newcomer Bowen Niu picked Han Solo. Dr. Aphra did her normal thing: completing jobs and upgrading ships. Lando focused on jobs after picking up Sy Snootles as a crew member to get the fame boost. He also shelled out for Dash Rendar, but before he could deliver his second illegal cargo, Han Solo snagged the cargo for himself with a secret card. Han focused on illegal cargo and upgrading ships, starting with the Hound’s Tooth, and working up to the Millennium Falcon. Meanwhile, Jyn Erso chose violence. After purchasing the Xanadu Blood early on, she went on a tear through all of the patrols. By the end of the game, she had destroyed 9 patrols to earn 6 fame and 15,000 credits. Thanks to the Xanadu Blood’s Cloaking Device, she took a total of 1 damage in those 9 combats. Before Jyn could seal the deal, though, Dr. Aphra drew Core Worlds encounter 18/20. Thanks to her positive reputation with the Rebels, she simply had to lose 2 Imperial reputation to gain her 10th fame and advance Dave into the finals once more.
Table 4 saw the last laurelist Marty Sample win the die roll and select Dr. Aphra. Mason Murray took Han Solo, Rob Eno took Jyn Erso, and Bart Pisarik rounded things out with Lando Calrissian. Much like the last table, Dr. Aphra completed jobs, Lando did some smuggling, and Jyn Erso wiped out patrols in the IG-2000. Han had some unfortunate luck and wasn’t able to keep up with the others. In another very close game, Marty Sample scored the last fame to win with the other players one turn away from victory.
Before we get into the final, let’s look at some numbers. Table 1’s winner: Dr. Aphra in position 2. Table 2: Lando Calrissian in position 1. Table 3: Dr. Aphra in position 1. Table 4: Dr. Aphra in position 1. While the heats had a more even distribution of winners across the seating positions, in the semifinals it started to become clear that going early was advantageous. Here’s the question: Is going earlier better in general, or does it just mean you get first pick of the good characters?
Well, the Finalists decided they wanted to change things up instead of just watching to see if Lando could beat Aphra or not. During setup, they removed the four most-played characters from the deck (Aphra, Lando, Han Solo, and Jyn Erso) and randomly dealt out two characters each from which they could choose one to play. This way some other characters would get air time and the game would feel less repetitive. Sean McCulloch won the die roll to go first and selected Black Krrsantan. Marty Sample went second with Chewbacca. Dave Long went third and picked Bossk. And Tina Del Carpio went fourth with Ketsu Onyo. For those interested: Chewie was selected 5 other times in the tournament and won once. Bossk and Black Krrsantan were each picked two other times, but neither scored any wins. Ketsu Onyo only made one appearance in the tournament, and that was the final.
Where many of the previous games focused heavily on jobs and smuggling, this final table had three bounty hunters. And by pure luck, the game was setup perfectly for them. Black Krrsantan (Sean) started on Cantonica with a bounty on the Black Sun Agent. Turn 1 he popped over to Ord Mantell, found the Agent, and killed him dead. Bossk (Dave) began on Ryloth with a bounty on Lobot. He went over to Tatooine where he hired Garindan as a crewmate, then on turn 2 he found and killed Lobot on Nal Hutta. And Ketsu Onyo (Tina) started on Mon Calamari with a bounty for Ponda Baba. Using Ketsu’s ability to encounter contacts and patrols up to 3 spaces away, they found and killed Ponda on Lothal. Within two turns, 4 of the 6 white contacts had already been revealed, and three had been eliminated.
From there, things slowed down a bit. Chewbacca (Marty) snapped up a potentially easy bounty for Garindan, which led to the Wookie chasing down and attacking Bossk twice before finally capturing the Imperial informant. The frequent attacks slowed Bossk down as he hunted for Hondo Ohnaka. While this was happening, Ketsu Onyo stayed on Mon Calamari and continued revealing contact tokens until they discovered Dengar, a deadly bounty hunter worth 1 fame for defeating. Ketsu tried three times to win the fight, but despite their expensive bowcaster, failed each time and switched to blowing up patrols. They purchased the Rogue-Class Porax-38 Starfighter, blasted some ships, and accomplished their personal goal and their ship goal to install the Xanadu Blood’s cloaking device. This made the level 2 Syndicate patrol an easy kill for another fame, and all of this was accomplished without ever leaving Mon Calamari. Meanwhile, Black Krrsantan destroyed a Level 2 Rebel patrol, used a secret card to steal Ketsu’s bowcaster, then snapped up the kill on Dengar. These battles inflicted just enough damage for him to achieve his personal goal at the start of his next turn.
For those keeping score at home, after 8 turns, Black Krrsantan (Sean) had 4 fame, Chewbacca (Marty) had 2, Bossk (Dave) had 1, and Ketsu Onyo (Tina) also had 4. Krrsantan and Ketsu were well-position to continue their respective reigns of terror. Krrsantan had already found and captured the rogue droid 4-Lom, with the assistance of his crewmate Greedo. He delivered the droid for two fame. Ketsu took this opportunity to depart Mon Calamari and hunt down the remaining patrols. They made quick work of the Level 3 Rebel and Level 3 Syndicate patrols to stay on pace with Krrsantan. Krrsantan’s adventure to deliver 4-Lom had brought him to the other side of the galaxy, though, and he blew up the Level 2 Imperial patrol.
This game was quickly becoming a two-horse race, but the other competitors had some gas left in the tank. Chewbacca’s motley crew came together and successfully robbed Jabba’s Hidden Stash on Tatooine, which also accomplished the Heavy-Duty Lifter’s ship goal to become the Ark Angel. Chewie also ran into Ketsu Onyo near Tatooine and dispatched an Undercover Agent to dig up some dirt on the former Syndicate assassin for another fame. Elsewhere, Bossk successfully delivered a captured Hondo Ohnaka for two fame, and then invested some money to upgrade his HWK-290 Freighter into the Moldy Crow.
Unfortunately for the other competitors, Black Krrsantan and Ketsu Onyo weren’t willing to sit idly by and let them catch up. Krrsantan wandered into a cantina and saw a new bounty posting for a certain Rodian named Greedo. He picked up the puck, returned to his ship, and tossed Greedo out the airlock. Nothing personal, just business. Ketsu Onyo began traveling to the other side of the galaxy to destroy more patrols, and along the way upgraded from the Xanadu Blood to the Aggressor-Class Assault Fighter. Soon after, they hired some crew members in Hera Syndulla and Boba Fett, then spent their extra money on a Holotable to keep the two entertained between missions. And then they wiped out the Level 3 Imperial patrol for another fame.
After 13 turns, Black Krrsantan and Ketsu Onyo both had 8 fame. Chewbacca had 5, and Bossk had 4. Who would reach 10 fame first? Black Krrsantan held a bounty puck for a target worth 2 fame upon death, while Ketsu’s clearest path to victory involved wiping out Hutt patrols. Sure enough, Ketsu’s next encounter was an easy victory over the Level 1 Hutt patrol. Normally only worth credits, this fulfilled the Aggressor-Class’s ship goal to upgrade to the IG-2000 and bring Ketsu to 9 fame. However, Krrsantan’s next move brought him to his target: the Imperial archaeologist Dr. Aphra. Armed with his bowcaster and a grenade launcher, the Wookie warrior blasted Aphra into oblivion for the win.
Honestly, given how dominant Aphra was in all previous rounds of the tournament, it’s quite fitting that the final would end with her death at the hands of an enraged Wookie! Congratulations to Sean McCulloch for a close-fought win, and to all of the finalists for advancing in a highly competitive field!
Allow me to close with some light data analysis. As mentioned earlier, it is tough to separate the potential advantage of going earlier in the turn order from the advantage of selecting your character first with how the game was played in the heats and Semifinal. In the 15 games played during the preliminary heats, the player who went 1st won 5, the player who 2nd won 2, 3rd won 4, and 4th won 4 (note: there were 4 3-player games, in these the person who went 3rd won 3 and the person who went 1st won the other). In the Semifinal, the player who went first won 3 of the games, and the player who went second won 1. And in the Final, the 1st player won.
Here are some character specific stats: Number of times played, number of wins, number of times their personal goal was fulfilled by game end, and average final score. As a reminder, 20 total games were played in the tournament.
- Dr. Aphra: 13 plays | 7 wins | 13 flips | 9.2 avg fame
- Lando Calrissian: 12 plays | 6 wins | 9 flips | 8.1 avg fame
- Jyn Erso: 10 plays | 2 wins | 5 flips | 7.3 avg fame
- Han Solo: 10 plays | 3 wins | 7 flips | 6.8 avg fame
- Chewbacca: 6 plays | 1 win | 4 flips | 6.0 avg fame
- Boba Fett: 4 plays | 0 wins | 4 flips | 6.75 avg fame
- Hera Syndulla: 4 plays | 0 wins | 2 flips | 4.75 avg fame
- Bossk: 3 plays | 0 wins | 1 flip | 3 avg fame
- Black Krrsantan: 3 plays | 1 win | 1 flip | 6.7 avg fame
- Enfys Nest: 3 plays | 0 wins | 2 flips | 6.3 avg fame
- IG-88: 3 plays | 1 win | 2 flips | 6.7 avg fame
- Maz Kanata: 2 plays | 0 wins | 1 flip | 4.5 avg fame
- Ketsu Onyo: 1 play | 0 wins | 1 flip | 9 avg fame
- Cad Bane: 1 play | 0 wins | 1 flip | 9 avg fame
- Hondo Ohnaka: 1 play | 0 wins | 1 flip | 7 avg fame
I don’t think there’s enough data to distinguish between the advantage of going first and of picking characters first, but I do think there’s enough data to show that Lando and Aphra are clearly two of the strongest characters in the game. Aphra’s personal goal is both easy to achieve and fulfilled by doing something that gains fame. Lando’s is trickier, but also directly tied to actions that already gain fame. Both also have powerful special abilities that help mitigate this game’s high variance. The other characters seem better balanced. If Outer Rim returns next year (and I am fairly confident that it will), I expect Aphra and Lando will be banned, and character selection will be handled the same as the Final last year: deal 2, choose 1. Or perhaps deal 3, choose 1, I’m still mulling that over.
Finally, here’s some fun data on ships! To avoid drowning the players in paperwork during the game, the scoresheets only collect info on the ship used at the end of the game, so some players may have purchased and flipped other ships before ending with these. Still, let’s see which ships are popular! Key: number of times used at the end of the game | times ship goal fulfilled | number of times the winning player was using that ship
- Millennium Falcon: 9 uses | 7 flips | 5 wins
- Scourge: 8 uses | 0 flips | 1 win
- Hound’s Tooth: 8 uses | 5 flips | 3 wins
- Ark Angel: 7 uses | 6 flips | 3 wins
- IG-2000: 7 uses | 5 flips | 0 wins
- Valorous: 6 uses | 4 flips | 0 wins
- Shadow Caster: 6 uses | 1 flip | 0 wins
- Ghost: 5 uses | 4 flips | 4 wins
- Moldy Crow: 5 uses | 4 flips | 1 win
- Slave 1: 4 uses | 1 flip | 0 wins
- Outrider: 4 uses | 3 flips | 2 wins
- Punishing One: 2 uses | 1 flip | 1 win
- Xanadu Blood: 1 use | 1 flip | 0 wins
- Aerie: 1 use | 1 flip | 0 wins
Also, three unfortunate players were unable or unwilling to purchase a new ship before the end of the game and finished with the starting G-1A Starfighter. Better luck next time! Once again, thanks to everyone who made this such a great tournament! I look forward to seeing you next year!